Delightful Ethical Digital
Rower in a river in Papua New Guinea

Cool Earth

A bold and people-centred new website for a charity at the forefront of the climate crisis

Read the case study

The challenge

The climate crisis. An issue pushed to the margins of change for decades is now at the top of the agenda for global politics. Change is on the horizon following historic events such as the COP26 Climate Conference and the rise of climate-focused organisations for change including amongst them: Cool Earth. They have a simple belief that the most effective way to turn the tide of the climate crisis is to protect the best carbon-storing technology that exists, our rainforests. And how? Through supporting people living there.

Cool Earth’s previous digital platform, while efficient, struggled to communicate its mission and values and tell the story that makes them such a unique organisation within the environmental space. Similarly, world-beating content was hidden away and sacrificed due to a lack of flexibility within their existing CMS.

Cool Earth homepage
The new homepage features immersive hero videos

The brief

The growth of the climate crisis and its threat to humankind has meant that a greater number of people now engage with environmental practices than ever before, and this trend is only set to increase. While schemes such as eradicating plastic straws and boycotting large carbon-emitting companies are making incremental change, Cool Earth are focused on where the greatest change can be made on the ground; with people.

Cool Earth needed new and innovative ways to communicate their impact and how people, the rainforest and climate action are intrinsically linked through their work. Because their work differs from rainforest to rainforest, they required intuitive UX that harnesses the power of their storytelling and ensures that every user comprehends what they do, and how they do it.

The process

As with every project we undertake, we engaged in a comprehensive Discovery process that addressed a number of challenges including priorities for the new website, outlining audiences and setting short and long-term goals to ensure we maintained focus throughout the project.

A key activity during the Discovery phase was the online IA card sorting workshop we ran with the Cool Earth team which established a sitemap and homepage content that is both intuitive and tailored to the charity’s audiences of changemakers, funders and partners and the wider media. Given the quality of imagery and video content at the disposal of Cool Earth, we prioritised a design that showcased these powerful and emotive scenes. We were similarly aided by the quality of a new brand thanks to our friends at Human After All who provided assets fitting with the values of radical progression that are central to the charity.

Cool Earth on laptop and mobile
Impact is at the heart of everything Cool Earth do

The solution

A culmination of user-led UX work, powerful content and a unique rebrand, the new Cool Earth website represents how leaders in the environmental space should present themselves in the digital space. Sweeping hero videos and visuals engage users when they first arrive on Cool Earth’s pages while bespoke templates encourage audiences on a journey to learn more about their programmes, impact and the importance of supporting those that live within the rainforest. 

Curved edges and the motif of a globe provide the opportunity to integrate innovative image displays such as the galleries found on the homepage which dynamically shift in size depending on the topic in focus. Moreover, an extended footer image is revealed via gradient and is neatly overlapped with quick links, a newsletter call to action and social buttons.

The results

Impact was always at the forefront of Cool Earth’s project. Working so closely with people on the ground in numerous locations often means that impact is difficult to measure, and given the scale of the challenge they face this made for even greater barriers. Now equipped with a dynamic impact template, users are able to view a snapshot of the incredible achievements taking place or delve further into annual reports and research projects. With a host of new tools and a platform to raise their profile, Cool Earth’s positive impact will only be increasing in the coming years.

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